For Swin Cash, simply inhabiting one world has never been the way she approaches her professional life.

As a player in the WNBA, she combined longevity with skill, exceptional personal performance with championships — from the NCAA titles at UConn in 2000 and 2002 to her three WNBA titles with Detroit and Seattle, and gold medals at both the 2004 and 2012 Olympics. It was Cash, not her teammates Sue Bird or Diana Taurasi, who won Most Outstanding Player at the 2002 Final Four. But most significantly, Swin Cash always shows up. Her 479 games rank eighth in WNBA history, and she led the league in games played five different seasons. 

Even as Cash enjoyed this success on the court, she has always worked strategically, an analytical mind that’s brought her to the elevated position with the New Orleans Pelicans of vice president of basketball operations. It is less a question of pursuing that particular position — Cash is always quick to credit those who opened the doors for her — and more about always being ready to not only excel in new challenges but hold open the door for those behind her.

That’s why Swin Cash is running point on She’s Got Time, an annual summit to be held in New Orleans from June 28-30, with a focus on eliminating gaps in opportunities for women between sports and media, instead looking for commonalities between groups.

“A lot of times I felt like we work in silos,” Cash said in a phone interview in June. “And so it's like, oh, someone in basketball operations, so she talks to everybody who works in operations, and then there's someone in business ops who only talk to corporate partnerships or sales. And sometimes, women don't understand the power of not only access to connecting with other women but having that tribe, that sisterhood, of, let's communicate.”

Don’t get it twisted: Cash dislikes networking events. That’s not the way she has designed She’s Got Time. It’s about “elevating our full self,” whether it’s balancing work and family, as Cash does with her two sons, or finding equality within a marriage as well as in the workplace.

“One of my friends said it best,” Cash explained. “She said, if there's a space that can be created for diversity like Swin as a Black woman, you have power in that whether you realize it or not. Other women see that it's not about seeing you and being you, it's about how do I achieve my goals to get there?”

For Cash, the stated goal is one that has come to be seen as a matter of when, not if, around the league: she’d like to run team operations for an NBA team someday. The progress is undeniable for women in both NBA front offices and coaching. Yet I couldn’t help but note that we have seen a woman get the nod as a general manager in Major League Baseball — Kim Ng, Miami Marlins — but not yet in basketball, either at the GM or even head coaching level. 

Cash sees the way Dawn Staley talks about these goals — with intention, naming them and unapologetically chasing them — as the way to eliminate these last barriers in the NBA.

“Dawn has been consistent,” Cash stated. “She has been unapologetic in her pursuit to amplify not only the voices of women but also Black women in that conversation … NBA, WNBA, but you cannot deny the limitations that have been there for Black women. And so, as a Black woman, of course, I want to speak to that through my advocacy because I know the direct effects that it could have not only on me but other young Black girls that look Black and brown girls that look like me.”

These women saw Cash get inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame last September. And just as she took a path directly from playing into the front office of the New York Liberty — an unexpected detour, she says, having planned to expand her media career before Isiah Thomas and the Liberty came calling — it is no coincidence that Tanisha Wright, a teammate of hers on the Liberty, is now coaching the Atlanta Dream, and Kia Vaughn, one of the first players she signed after joining New York’s front office, is in an executive role with Atlanta now as well.

“I talked to Tanisha when they were going through the process,” Cash recalled. “And [former Liberty executive, now Dream general manager Dan [Padover]’s down there as well. So we all get it. And when they were talking about what that transition will look like in hiring Kia, like you know, I was jumping to the moon about it. 

“I have had an opportunity on a few occasions to talk with [former WNBA player, current Connecticut Sun executive] Morgan [Tuck], and she's doing phenomenal stuff, too. So we try to tap in with them all when we can.”

It all comes back to being in the room, Cash says. She still remembers back when the NBA All-Star Game used to feature NBA players right up front, in the first row. And WNBA players? No VIP seating.

Cash never worried about being called a diva, she says. And she even got warned not to do it — but she calmly, consistently explained the problem to anyone who would listen.

“It was this taboo thing of, like, how could you even ask to sit there, right? And so for me, you know me, Howard, I'm like, I popped up here. I'm gonna have a seat here. And I'll never forget getting calls like, ‘Hey, what are you doing? We shouldn't be doing that.’ And in my mind, I was like, Yes, we should be doing that. There should be at least a few seats here for WNBA legends.”

You’ll see Cash in plenty of seats this summer — she’s as locked in on the WNBA as ever and recently took in a Dream game down in Atlanta with her two sons. But She’s Got Time is also planning events at NBA Summer League and WNBA All-Star Game.

Swin Cash is enjoying the ride. But she never loses sight of the destination. And there’s always more room in the car.

“The biggest thing that I can do is for us, especially women who have kids or have these careers, is to help support each other,” Cash said. “And if we build that, then it's just easier for all of us. So I'm looking forward to it.”